Beef prices have strengthened in recent days as tight supplies and strong farmer resistance to lower and unjustified quotes from factories takes effect, IFA livestock chair Brendan Golden has said.

According to Golden, the prime export benchmark price for the latest week “underlines how unjustified the price cuts are”.

The data shows prices holding steady at €3.76/kg, while the equivalent Irish price dropped 5c/kg.

Golden said: “The IFA left Meat Industry Ireland in no doubt during our meeting that undermining of the market place by meat factories will not be tolerated and beef prices must reflect the full value.

“Supplies of finished cattle are extremely tight. UK slaughter-fit cattle are predicted to be back 5% this year and sterling has continued to strengthen since the end of January. It’s currently at 86p [against €1], creating positive market conditions for Irish beef.”

Imports impact

The IFA has said that factories must reverse the price drops of recent weeks.

“While sterling is strengthening, it’s still almost 20% behind the pre-Brexit vote levels and impacting directly on incomes for beef farmers,” Golden continued.

“This is further compounded by sub-standard imports that are allowed into the EU to undermine our key market. The Mercosur trade deal that will allow an additional 100,000t of substandard product into our key markets must be stopped.”

Golden also said that winter finishers are dealing with the impact of increasing input supplies.

Steers are making €3.75 to €3.80/kg, with heifers making €3.80 to €3.85/kg.

The cow trade is steady, ranging from €2.90 for P grades to €3.40/kg for R and U grades, with some higher prices. Young bulls are ranging from €3.60 to €3.80/kg for R and U grades.